Curved 34-inch ultrawide display?

If you checked out my updated Setup page, you’ll be aware that I’ve been using the LG 34UM95 34″ 21:9 Wide Screen Monitor.

It’s a beautiful monitor with a fantastic screen resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels and the ultra wide format really is a boon with lot’s of screen real estate to play with. The 21:9 format is fantastic, especially for applications with a linear timeline such as Final Cut Pro or Screenflow. Plus, it’s optimised for Macs with built in Thunderbolt 2.

The screen is wide though, very wide.

Hence my eyebrow raised when I heard about a new version of the LG 34UM95 to be launched at IFA 2014 next month – The LG 34UC97 – a curved version of the 34UM95!

LG Curved

Based on personal experience with the 34UM95, a curved version of the screen would be amazing. Viewing the huge width would benefit from a slight curvature, bring the edges of the screen in closer to the user.

LG have published a photo of three of curved displays together, although to my eye, I don’t think they are the 21:9 aspect ratio displays. But the photo does give an impression on how awesome three curved screens would be.

Three curved

So will I get one?

It really depends on pricing, availability as well as what else is happening in the monitor world.

Now I have a 4K camera and a Mac Pro, it may be time to start thinking of a 4K display, although I really do like the 21:9 aspect ratio.

Don’t forget, we also are waiting for Apple to show their hand on what they are proposing to do in the monitor space.

Perhaps before Christmas?

Updated Setup Page

Following many requests, I’ve updated my setup page on the blog and re-published it, bringing it back up to date and identifying many of the elements shown on the blog header image.

You can find the updated page via the menu on the blog, or via this link.

Just a couple of points – The Panasonic GH4 camera is brand new and as a total photography newbie, it’s early days. Starting to get to grips with it but I mainly acquired it as a way into 4K video. I’ll be exploring more as I get to grips with it and will keep you informed of progress.

You may notice that the original Mackie audio mixer and external audio gear is now unlisted. I’ve moved over to processing my audio for the show using software rather that external audio hardware – Audio Hijack Pro as a live noise gate and Adobe Audition 2014 for post processing. It remains to be seen if I continue doing that, or if I go back to using external gear.

The Apollo Twin audio interface is currently unplugged as I’ve been having crashes when trying to use it with ScreenFlow – I’m using the Onyx Blackmagic USB interface for now until I can get to the bottom of the crashing problem.




My New Walking Desk

Ok, So I’ve got a new desk. A walking treadmill desk!

This is basically a standing desk with a treadmill. It’s not my permanent workplace, I still have my normal desk, but I’m hoping to build up to spending a few hours on the walking desk every day.

So why a walking desk?

I’ve read a lot about the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading, especially for some one like me, who spends seven or eight hours every day in front of my monitor.

I’ve also read about the benefits of a standing desk. I’ve tried it and I didn’t really like it. There’s something very fatiguing about standing in the same spot for prolonged periods of time.

The alternative is a walking desk.

First thing to state up front is the walking desk is not an exercise machine. The treadmill is purpose built for walking at slow speeds. There’s no incline setting and the usual speed is between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour. The idea is to just keep moving and not break into a sweat. At this speed, it’s fairly easy to type, use a trackpad and I even can use my Wacom Tablet. It’s early days (it only arrived today), but I was quite happy answering emails, doing some post production stuff and various admin stuff. To break myself in gently, after the effort of setting the thing up (it’s a bit of a beast), I decided to limit myself to just 45 minutes. I’ll gradually build up over the coming months.

I also don’t intend to do podcasts or record my ScreenCastsOnline videos whilst walking. I have a normal desk kitted out for my recording activities.

I’ll do a more detailed post over the next few weeks, but to answer a few specific questions and comments on Twitter.

Which model did I get?
I went for a commercially available model rather than build my own. I just don’t have the time and I wanted to get one that was specifically designed for the job. I went with the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk. Horrendously expensive and almost twice the price in the UK than in the US. At least I can claim it as a business expense and reclaim the VAT. It’s not even the top of the range. However, build quality is excellent and the desk area is huge.

What mount did I get for the Monitor?
I can’t remember! I got a standard VESA mount for the 27″ Thunderbolt Display but I can’t remember where I got the stand from.

What is the Wallpaper?
I picked up the wooden wallpaper from here

Why don’t you just go out and enjoy some fresh air and walk?
After a long day seated, I tend to go for a long walk outside each evening, to try and compensate for inactivity of the day. I’m not a runner but I do enjoy my long walk. So wouldn’t it be good to walk whilst doing some work during the day. Hence the walking desk. I’ll still go for my evening walks, but I’ll supplement that with walking during the day to remain productive and gain all the health benefits. It’s not to replace my other activities, but if I have to work seven or eight hours a day indoors. why not spend some of that time walking?

Just as a bit of fun, I did a time lapse of setting up the new beast – enjoy!

How not to sell a PlayBook (or anything for that matter!)

Travelling through Newark Airport on the way back home from WWDC, I stumbled across a BlackBerry store. With a couple of hours to kill, I thought I’d take a peak at a PlayBook.

As I entered the store, one of the assistants jumped at me…

“Can I help you or answer any questions?”

“No thanks, I’m just browsing….”

I sauntered over to the PlayBook stand to try my first hands on experience.

Literally, after a couple of seconds, barely enough to swipe the screen, the same sales assistant was back…

“Can I help you or answer any questions?”

“No thanks, I’m just looking, I wanted to see how the Playbook worked and what it’s performance is like”

The sales assistant, ignoring the fact that I wanted to be left alone, launched in some well rehearsed spiel ….

“You can play it on the TV” she told me, gesturing to the Playbook next to the one I was trying to use. She struggled trying to press the Power button with her fingernail but when powered up, the TV out didn’t work.

“The Playbook plays flash videos you know, the iPad can’t do that…”

“Oh really…”

“The Playbook has front and rear cameras. It can take photos and video at 1080p, the iPad can only take 720p”

“Oh really…”

I tried to ignore her and explore the PlayBook in front of me.

“The Playbook is the only tablet that can bridge to your Blackberry for you emails, the iPad can’t do that”

“Oh really…”

At which point I gave up and left the shop.


My Android Experience….


Look, I know I’m an Apple fan boy, but I’m also a pretty savvy technologist and have had more gadgets than I’m comfortable admitting to.

I also like to think I can find my way round most bits of kit without too much reading of the manual. In fact, I really enjoy technology and learning new things.

So I was pleased as punch when I heard of a cheap Android tablet I could cut my teeth on. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve never really been exposed to Android, so the launch of the Commtiva N700 running Android Froyo 2.2 for just £299 was a great excuse to feed my gadget addiction.

My rationale was to explore the beast, get up to speed on Android, write a few blog posts and have some knowledge when conversing about Android on the various podcasts I frequent.

Sounded like a good idea.

When I’d grown weary of the device, I could resell it, or possibly keep it to explore further Android releases.


However, after struggling with doing even the basic functions with the damn thing, I’ve just reset it to factory settings and have returned it for a full refund.

So instead of a full and considered review, I thought I’d just give you some basic thoughts and impressions on the device

  • Pros
    • My first impression was that it was rather bulky although I did like the 7″ form factor.
    • It came with a decent case which was useful.
    • Setup was fairly straightforward and I was able to setup my Gmail account with no problem and connect to my local WiFi network.
    • It didn’t take me long to find the market place and download a Twitter client. Not too bad an experience.
    • Responsiveness was OK, even with it only having a 600 MHz processor.
  • Cons
    • The screen was awful – really low resolution and grainy – just 480×800. Dreadful really!
    • The onscreen keyboard was a complete disaster. It would just appear for no apparent reason, and then not disappear at all – very frustrating. In retrospect, I wonder if I had a faulty unit – it was just that bad!
    • Some applications seem to be designed and hard coded in portrait mode, others in landscape.
    • The camera display is atrocious – terrible quality
    • No flash support – eh!

And to be honest, that’s as far as I got!

The first time I switched it off and back on again, which took a few attempts, I couldn’t get past the home screen. An unintuitive  screen lock appears but no instructions in the quick start guide on how to unlock it. I ended up downloading the full manual from the internet. It was a slide up on the onscreen lock but I never fathomed it out.

Things went down hill from there.

A couple of times it wouldn’t power on without plugging it back into the mains charger although the battery was at 80%

Everything I tried was an effort.

It was a complete exercise in frustration.

In fairness, it was so difficult to operate in the end that I have a suspicion that it must have been a faulty unit, it must have been!

Eventually, I just gave up.

I feel pretty bad about my lack of progress with the machine. I’ve seen other reviews on the web which seem to indicate to the contrary my experiences but really, I hated it… with a passion!

My only advice would be get one to try it yourself, as long as you can return it.

Would I recommend buying one for Christmas as a gift to someone who wants a tablet….

Emphatically no!